Sales is a contact sport and prospecting for new business is the
name of the game! You will never meet a salesperson that failed
because they had too many prospects to talk to. For the majority
of salespeople, finding new customers is without a doubt the
most difficult and stressful aspect of the profession.
Prospecting should be viewed more as a mindset rather than
merely as an activity. It is something you need to be constantly
aware of because you never know where your next prospect will be
coming from. It really doesn’t matter how competent you are or
how well you know your product line, if you don’t have a
qualified prospect in front of you, you don’t have a sale.
1. Prospecting for new business is similar to working out. You
know it is good for you and it will produce positive results if
you do it routinely. Professional salespeople prospect daily.
It’s important to block-off specific time on your calendar for
prospecting activities such as phone calling and emailing. Treat
your prospecting time with the same respect as you would any
other important appointment, otherwise, there is a tendency that
it will slip through the cracks. This is not the time to check
your emails, play solitaire on the computer, make a personal
phone call or chat with your associates. Stay focused and take
your prospecting seriously. Set the tone by closing your office
door and have your incoming calls held unless it is a call from
a client or a prospect.
2. Be prepared, get organized and take good notes. It’s
critical to have a computerized contact system to record remarks
and suspense future contacts or appointments.
3. Use a script – don’t shoot from the hip. There is only one
thing worse than listening to a salesperson read a script over
the phone and that is to listen to a salesperson without a
script. Obviously, it is important to not only have a script but
to practice it until it sounds smooth and natural. Set aside
time to role-play with an associate over the phone. By taking
turns presenting and critiquing you will gain confidence, polish
your script and be more effective. When prospecting, avoid the
temptation to sell over the phone. Your objective is to gather
information and make the appointment.
4. Strike while the iron is hot! When working with a new
prospect, it’s important to make contact quickly. Prospects are
perishable. No matter how interested a prospect may appear,
don’t wait for them to call you. You are only one of many
competing interests for your prospect’s time and money.
5. Keep the high ground and avoid the temptation to badmouth
your competition. While it is fair to make head-to-head
comparisons, you should avoid personal attacks. Attacking your
competition makes you look unprofessional and petty. Emphasize
the benefits of your product or service by guiding your prospect
through a comparison of quality and price. Play to your
strengths and not the weakness of your competition. Let your
prospect draw their own conclusions from a well-presented
6. Rejection is a natural aspect of the sales process so don’t
take it personally. Learn from rejection, use it as a feedback
mechanism and look for ways to improve your presentation.
Salespeople who take rejection personally lack perseverance and
seldom make the sale. Sales is a numbers game pure and simple.
As a professional baseball player, if you can average four hits
out of ten times at bat you are heading for the Hall of Fame.
Research indicates that in sales you can expect your prospect to
say no five times before they buy. With this in mind, realize
that with every sales rejection you receive, you are one step
closer to making the sale!